That’s more than 3,650 days.
This post should have come in July as it would have been more on point and fit a bit better. Alas, there’s no time like the present.
This is the 10th year of A ‘lil HooHaa.
On July 12, 2005, I published my first blog post. I’m not sure which version of the blog it was, but it was some version. Maybe it was Blogger. Maybe it was on my message board, which had a blog option.
Heck, back then, I even used some colorful language when blogging.
My first four posts were talking about my need for a new car. Here’s some reality – nobody read them. There wasn’t a way for people to find them, anyway. So it was me writing – for the sake of writing.
I didn’t have a clue about blogging. All I knew is it was a way to write things I felt like writing about. Some of the posts, as I look back, were absolutely awful. It was basically, well, what Facebook is today. Short nuggets about my life.
It took a while for me to find my voice. I went through a few different types of blogs. In fact, I had a second blog (a photo blog) that went for a couple of years alongside this. I always wanted to merge the two but never could figure how with the software I used for that one. Plus, I let it get out of hand in recent years with spam comments and all.
Eventually, I grabbed my own domain – the current one – and started building my WordPress site. I moved all posts from my first few renditions of the blog over and I had a starting point. Then, it was time to learn and grow.
During the early days, not much went on. I wasn’t a great blogger. I didn’t do a lot with it. I’d go in spurts. Back then, I was writing for a living. So coming home and writing more wasn’t my idea of fun. I got away from the enjoyment of blogging and writing personal items.
But when I was laid off in 2011, the blog became my “home.”
All of a sudden, I found my voice. This became my therapy in regard to avoiding or attacking reality. I started reading other blogs. I made blogging friends. I saw what the community was about and I loved it.
I still do.
And since then, I’ve grown personally and as a blogger. I’ve always maintained that I wouldn’t take blogging too seriously. I wanted it to be fun for me. I wanted to have a public journal of sorts. This was me in many different ways. That’s why my style can change from post to post. Sometimes you might see me in journalist mode as I research a topic or interview people. Other times, it’s faster quips. Other times opinion. And there are even posts about my personal world.
It’s a glimpse into who I am.
One thing I’ve never done – unlike many bloggers – is looked to become the next big thing. So many people get into blogging as a way to make a living. The issue is … not everybody can do that. You have to have a target audience who goes to you each day. You need advertisers. You need to find that certain niche.
I don’t have that.
I blog because I love to blog. That’s what I’ve done for 10 years and that’s what I will continue to do for hopefully the next 10 … and then some.
Looking at the blog
I wish I had been keeping stats on my blog since 2005, but the reality is I’ve only been doing so since 2011.
Alas, I can only go by what I have. During that timeframe, I’ve had bit more than 122,000 page views. My best day that held for a couple of years was 921, which came on Oct. 13, 2011. That’s when I wrote about the name disc golf vs. Frolf. It was linked up in the PDGA newsletter, which got me a ton of hits. All records are made to be broken though, no?
The record was beat this month, when I did a retrospective of 2CW — an independent wrestling federation based in Syracuse — opting to shut its doors and go out while they are still great. On that day, my blog drew 1,284 views, with the bulk heading to that post.
That first post, though, was also the beginning of me thinking about a disc golf blog, which I opened and operated for a couple of years as well.
I’ve had more than 6,000 comments, which is nice because it’s fun to see comments. I’ve tried to respond to each one and have a dialogue when possible. It’s also fun to go visit other people’s blogs and be part of the community and comments often lead me to some great blogs.
During the time, I’ve had a few different looks. I like basic and I like it to look like a blog, not a website with many other things. Though the latest look is one that was somewhat forced (well the changing, not the look), I like the feel and I hope I get several years out of this one, much like I did with the last one.
Ten things I’ve learned about blogging
Over the years, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve spelled things wrong or I’ve called somebody by the wrong name or I’ve published posts sooner than I should have.
But mistakes help you push forward and get better.
So, allow me to share 10 things I’ve learned about blogging.
- Making mistakes isn’t a bad thing – it helps you improve.
- When people comment, respond, then go visit their blog and comment. You might find some gems by doing this.
- Stay with it. I have seen too many people quit blogging. If you love it, stick with it, even if that means an occasional break.
- Photos really add to a post.
- Spell check is your friend.
- If you have a “controversial post,” write it and then come back to it an hour, day or week later before you publish.
- Family and friends won’t always read your posts, so don’t expect it.
- Know who you are writing for – even if it’s just you.
- Your style is yours – so find it and enjoy it. Not everybody can be the same. Bloggers can be funny, quirky, serious, sad, happy etc. Find your style and roll with it.
- Don’t expect anything – do it because you love it. Anything else is a bonus. If you are trying too hard, people will be able to tell and might not read you anymore. And stay realistic at all times.
One thing I always want to do is keep learning when blogging. The reality is my blog will never be one that grabs millions of hits per day. It also won’t make money as it’s just a pain to deal with any of that. I do it because I love doing it and will continue to do so as long as it’s fun.
I plan on sticking around the blogging world.
Between the Photo Blogging Challenge and the 20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge, I have some challenges to keep me going. Once I get through this month (and next), I plan on looking at a few other challenges as I’d love to test the waters in a few others that are out there, be it photography, writing, or whatever. You always have to keep trying new things to keep the blogging world exciting.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!